hello, welcome back to "newsline." i'm miki yamamoto in tokyo. first the headlines for this hour. hong kong's pro-democracy protesters are not backing down for the third day in a row. they're holding sit-ins and blocking roads. volcanic activities on mount ontake have forced rescuers to halt their search operations for the day. and retailers in japan are getting ready to serve foreign
tourists as a list of duty-free goods expands. pro-democracy protesters in hong kong are not backing down. theye blocking roads in the heart of the city for a third day. they're calling for fairness in what will be their first direct election for chief executive in 2017. so they're rallying against beijing's decision to effectively exclude pro-democracy candidates. more than 1,000 young protesters continued sit-ins outside the government office on tuesday morning. tens of thousands of people had gathered the previous day. many spent the night. people are bringing in water, food, and medical supplies to support the demonstrators. >> translator: more and more people are taking part in our protests. i feel encouraged. >> factory workers at a number of plants are striking. schools have been closed. and bus services have been canceled in some areas.
hong kong chief executive leung chun-ying called on the protesters to disband. government officials say at least 57 people have been injured. students calling for social freedom, and pro-democracy activists have been leading the protests, and they've both been mobilizing people on campuses and across hong kong. nhk world looks at the roots of the demonstrations. >> reporter: in august, beijing allowed people in hong kong to directly elect their top leaders starting in 2017. but there will be conditions on who can run. voters must choose from a list of preapproved candidates. during a briefing in hong kong, pro-democracy activists, coupled with police. some were arrested.
they say the new system ushers out pro-democracy candidates. >> no one has the right. no one. >> reporter: a student group called for boycotting classes. organizers said students of 24 colleges and vocational schools responded. they say 13,000 people took part in the rally at the chinese university of hong kong. >> we will fight for our rights and fight for our democracy. >> reporter: and since friday, there's been a standoff between protesters and police. there were scuffles in front of the hong kong government office. more than 70 people were arrested.
britainanded over hong kong to china in 1997. beijing now, local officials are on high alert. they fear the protests could grow even bigger. chie yamagishi, nhk world. rescuers at mount ontake in central japan have suspended their operation for the day. they've had to put off their search for climbers still trapped near the top of the volcano out of fear it could become more active. police say 12 people are confirmed dead, and 24 others were found without vital signs. the volcano erupted on saturday. as of tuesday noon it was still spewing smoke as highs 400
meters from the craters. 800 firefighters, police and ground self-defense force personnel have been taking part in the search effort. they're trying to bring down people still near the summit. when they were found, they were not breathing, and their hearts had stopped. hundreds of climbers are believed to have been around the mountain's peak when it suddenly erupted. those who experienced the catastrophe firsthand are sharing what it was like. nhk world reports. [ screams ] >> reporter: this footage was shot by a hiker taking shelter inside a cabin near the top of the mountain. loud sounds are ash pellets splattering from the crater. japan's meteorological agency says the biggest one detected was more than 50 cent meters in diameter. a mountain guide who was near
the top at the time says what she witnessed was even more intense. >> translator: stones were fallg like rain. the biggest i saw looked as big as a small truck. they kept falling, as a never ending cosmic bombardment. >> reporter: many people say they felt suffocated and overheated. >> translator: i couldn't breathe. everybody was trying to cover faces with towels because we couldn't even open our eyes. >> translator: hot air was coming and got hotter and hotter. i thought i wouldn't survive. >> reporter: the ash deposits and volcanic gas overwhelmed climbers and prevented people from helping the victims. this man was working at a cabin one kilometer from the top. he didn't go down the mountain
after the eruption, instead he left others to safety and helped the injured. after four hours, he heard there were some people still trapped near the summit. he tried to reach them, but mud-like volcanic ash had piled up, and prevented him from moving forward. sakurai saw people calling for help along the trail. they were buried in the ash. >> translator: i saw two people lying down, waving a towel. i realized they couldn't move, even though they were alive. >> reporter: but, sakurai couldn't reach them. water in the ash had made the slope too slippery. >> translator: it was so slippery that i felt as if i was walking on ice or slush.
without proper gear. and it was a difficult slope to climb in the first place. >> reporter: he reached a cabin, he says he could hardly recognize it. the roof and walls are destroyed. volcanic ash had piled up nearly one meter high outside the window. a staff member told sakurai a couple people were buried in the ash around the cabin. >> translator: i opened the window and there was a tremendous amount of ash out there. there might have been people buried. but, it was impossible to verify that visually. >> reporter: sakurai finally made it to the top but couldn't rescue people, because of the heavy ash. >> translator: all i could do was to tell officials what the situation was like.
it couldn't be helped. i couldn't do anything. >> reporter: many people are still trapped on the mountain. rescue workers are still battling volcanic ash and gas to help them. nhk world. american forces and their arab allies are hitting more islamic state targets in syria. u.s. defense department officials say the coalition has ducted a total 66 airstrikes of the militant group since their operation began a week ago. and they say 23 of them have been carried out by arab air forces. u.s. military leaders say on sunday and monday they were
assisted by fighter jets from the united arab emirates and jordan. they say eight strikes hit targets in eastern syria, as well as aleppo and raqqah in the northern region. they say their attack near the syrian border with turkey appears to have been successful. they were targeting a storage facility that was being used as a logistics hub by the militant group. a senior u.s. air force official in charge of the operation says the attacks have helped weaken the militant group's chain of command. but he says it will take more time to cut off the islamic state's source of funds. >> i think we're just in the beginning portions of the campaign that will allow us to see those specific effects that will take long-term to ultimately see the effectiveness. >> some reports say the u.s.-led air strikes have killed civilians in syria.
u.s. defense department spokesperson steve warren says leaders in washington are investigating. but he said so far they have found nothing to confirm the allegation. a group of japanese lawmakers will travel to seoul next month to meet with the south korean counterparts. they're trying to lay the groundwork for a possible bilateral summit. the japan/korea parliamentarian's union met in the diet. the ruling liberal democratic party says it's abnormal that prime minister shinzo abe and south korean president park geun-hye have not held a bilateral summit meeting since they both took office. >> translator: the role of the union is to support the government and coordinate efforts to improve bilateral ties.
>> the group decided to hold a general meeting on october 24th with the south korean parliamentarian's union. and they've agreed to a request to set up a subcommittee that will discuss bilateral historical issues, including so-called comfort women. the group's chief secretary says they decided they must not avoid debate if they are to seek future oriented relations. now let's see what's happening in the world of business. here's our ron madison from the biz desk. ron? >> all right. thank you, miki. straight to the markets this hour. we're seeing the protests in hong kong are continuing to weigh on local investor sentiment. that hang seng index closed at a three-month low with shares plunging almost 1.3%. 22,932 at the close. in particular, retailers extended losses ahead of the national day holidays in hong kong and mainland china. retail shares, real estate shares, rather, also hit pretty hard today. investors are worried that the
protests could hurt mainland china's economy. the south korean kospi ended 0.3% lower and hit a fresh two-month low. china is one of south korea's largest trading partners. investors also focused on hsbc's manufacturing report on china. it came in at 50.2 for september. that was unchanged from august. the shanghai composite hit a new high for the year for the fifth day in a row. meanwhile here in tokyo a report on weak industrial output raised doubts about the strength of the japanese economy. the nikkei average ended the day lower 0.8%. 16,173. investors also avoiding risks on the final day of the second quarter in japan. and in sydney shares rebounding and closing up more than half a conspiracy, 5,292. strong banking stocks supported the market today. government officials in japan have released some figures that give insight into the state of the economy. they say in august the labor market showed signs of recovery. officials at the internal affairs ministry say the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%.
that's the first time in three months that it's gone down. the number of people with jobs rose by 530,000 from a year earlier to more than 63 million. that figure has been climbing for 20 months. the number of people without jobs fell by 400,000 to about 2.3 million. and it's been declining for 51 months. labor ministry officials say the ratio of job offers to seekers s unchanged at 1.1. that means there were 110 positions available for every 100 people who were looking for a job. there have been more jobs than job seekers for ten straight months now. the officials say there were more openings in the hospitality sector, as well as medical care, and social services. magers at plants across japan are seeing less activity on their factory floors. they reported a drop in industrial production in august. economy ministry officials say factory output fell 1.5% from july. it was the first decline in two months. the officials say that's partly
due to lower automobile production for the domestic market, and overseas regions such as europe. and they say production of air conditioners was down, and analysts are blaming bad weather for a slurve in demand. ministry officials surveyed 15 industries and say output was low iracross ten of them. they say industrial production has remained weak and they've kept that assessment for three months. but the officials say things are likely to improve in september. they say personal computer and smartphonemakers will be ramping up production for the year-end shopping season and they expect that will boost output by about 6%. and japan's construction industry continues to feel the effects of a hike in the consumption tax. housing starts in august fell for the sixth straight month. officials at the land and infrastructure ministry say nearly 74,000 units were started across the country during the month. the number was off 12 to in5% from a year earlier. the figure was down sharply for built-to-order houses with a 22.7% decline.
built-for-sale homes, this includes condominiums fell 10.3% while rental units showed a 3.8% decline. ministry officials say demand for kondos in popular urban areas is high but a shortage of available land may be one reason for the decline. they expect housing starts to remain below last year's figure for some time. executives at toyota say a deeffect in a line of pickup trucks could cause them to catch fire. they've decided to recall about 790,000 of the vehicles worldwide. toyota officials say they're recalling tacoma pickups made between 2005 and 2011. most of them were sold in north america. the officials say part of the rear suspension system could break while the vehicles are in motion. that could puncture the fuel tank and cause a gasoline leak and possibly even a fire. toyota executives say they haven't received any reports of accidents or injuries caused by the defect. general motors and other leading automakers in the u.s. have this year recalled vehicles due to various defects.
analysts say concerns about product quality so stall brisk sales of new cars in the u.s. four consumers desperate to lose weight a line of products by a japanese underwearmaker seemed to good to be true. wacoal said its products could shed pounds simply by being worn. but trade regulators have known cold water on that claim. the claim lacked any scientific evidence and was a violation of consumer protection laws. managers at wacoal's u.s. subsidiary have agreed to pay $1.3 million. the regulators say the money will cover refunds to people who bought the undergarments. wacoal executives in japan say they were not fully aware of what advertisement claims are acceptable in overseas markets. they promise to work harder to comply with local regulations so that the same mistake is not repeated. well here's some news for visitors to japan, more souvenirs and gifts are becoming tax free. the duty free system for
tourists will expand on wednesday. currently shoppers at designated duty-free stores don't pay tax on clothing, hand bags and electrical appliances. that's if their purchases exceed 10,000 yen about $91 u.s. dollars. from fact first that minimum will be cut in half and the list of duty free items will be expanded to include food and cosmetics. retailers in tourist spots across the country are already preparing for the change. >> reporter: in the fushimi district of kyoto this long established liquor shop carries about 500 varieties of sake including the district's locally brewed brands. strong competition from supermarkets and convenience stores has driven its sales down by more than half over the past ten years. so the shop owner has set his eye on foreign travelers.
>> this is a seasonal sake for autumn. >> i like just the picture. >> it's very good. >> reporter: many foreign tourists vis id the fushimi district to tour sake breweries. the shop owner decided to apply for permission to sell duty-free goods at his shop. with the help of local students, he made a card in chinese, explaining how the system works. he will use the card to inform customers they must present their passports at payment. >> translator: we sell not only sake, but also sake glasses and other souvenirs. this change in the duty-free system is a great opportunity for us. >> reporter: another store is looking for ways to increase revenue by encouraging customers to take advantage of the
duty-free deal. this souvenir shop in fukuoka southwestern japan attracts about 300 tourists every month. the best-selling item in the store is this soy sauce. but each bottle only brings in 320 yen. the manager and his staff are discussing what else they could recommend to customers to help them get the 5,000 yen duty-free deal. >> that's a total of 4,000 yen. but we are still 1,000 yen short. >> reporter: five bottles of soy sauce and three of perfume. >> what else would you suggest? >> reporter: for a girl, i would recommend a bottle of wine. >> reporter: add the 1800 yen bottle of plum wine and the total comes to 5,800 yen. >> translator: a customer can talk to our staff, and together they can come up with 5,000 yen
worth of items the customer is happy with. it might not be that difficult to reach the target if we focus on customer satisfaction. >> reporter: major supermarkets selling a lot of tax exempt products are also gearing up for october 1st. on this day store staff are going through practical training. they are learning how to input the data of duty-free purchases into the cash register. and also, the procedure for scanning passports. >> translator: remember that the customer is here for a short stay. open their passport, check the entry stamp and then put their arrival date in the computer. >> reporter: also duty-free items need to be packed in a special bag or a box. the purchase needs to be sealed until the tourist leaves japan. the staff learn how to pack the merchandise in the containers properly.
>> translator: i'll go back to my store and review the procedure, and then teach the other staff. >> translator: we're doing our best to prepare to welcome foreign tourists. we expect a number of visitors to increase, leading up to the 2020 tokyo olympics. >> reporter: when the new duty-free regulations come into effect, many shopkeepers are hoping more foreign money will help fill japanese cash registers. okay. that is going to do it for biz this hour. here's a check of the markets.
it's time now to check on the world weather with meteorologist jonathan oh. jonathan, what's the latest regarding tropical storm fan funk and how should residents prepare for it? >> i think the residents need to go ahead and make sure they're getting ready to prepare for the worst when it comes to strong winds and heavy rain. because tropical storm phanfone is expects to intensify and is expected to become a typhoon in just 36 hours. so that progressive strengthening because it's in open waters, it's going to make conditions quite difficult for residents out in that area. let me show you what's happening here. the red shades for the northern islands showing the typhoon watch, yes, because as this
system moves toward the north and west, that wraparound type setup will actually increase the wind situation. so that's good concern as it intensifies. and in the southern islands looking at a tropical storm warning. moving to the north/northwest at 25 kilometers per hour with winds of 83 gusting up to 126 and it continues to move toward the north and west. and so the mariana islands, you're the first one to deal with this. you already saw kanmuri last week and now you're getting hit with another tropical system. on top of that we're looking at maybe 120 millimeters of rain or more, and that's going to be in a short period of time. maybe within a 24 hour period so that's going to be some flooding concerns along with the strong winds. and then the future track of this particular system, at least up to five days, brings it close to jan and and then expected to make more of a northerly and northeasterly turn. we're going to have to keep an eye on this system. high pressure controlling the weather over the tokyo and seoul, so nice conditions with highs in the mid 20s. a cold front is moving through
china, and that's bringing some rain into beijing, chongqing and hong kong coming up on wednesday. let's take a look at the forecast for europe. high pressure dominating the eastern half of the continent but we have a low pressure system and a trough of little area where moisture is moving from the south, and because of that, there were some flooding problems, specifically in southern france, and we're looking at the possibility of some severe weather for eastern spain and southern france, again, because that trough is still lingering. along with the fact that the tropics sent into portions of germany and central europe you will also see a chance for some rain. so berlin, 20 coming up for tuesday. 23 in paris. and in sunnier conditions for warsaw and vienna, as we go through the next day. here's a look at the forecast for north america. we are starting to see some clearing in the carolinas but we have a stationary front bringing rain down towards florida and we have this low pressure system causing some problems. we had reports of 135 kilometers per hour wind gusts on top of
that, a funnel cloud report, and also some large hail, and the focus of the severe weather now shifts to the dakotas, and also into nebraska. so we will definitely have to look out for the possibility of seeing some severe weather there. forecast highs, 33 for miami. 20 in atlanta, 26 in d.c. and some nice weather in california. i want to take you there with a look at some video. a little bit of fun here and how not just residents but also some pets also enjoy the weather here. the sixth annual surf city surf dog competition taking place in california sunday. dogs owners gathering at hint hunting condition beach, dogs participating on their weight, judged by their skills and the length of their ride. hope you have a good day wherever you are.
>> you are watching france 24. time now for 60 minutes live from around the world. here are the headlines from paris. kong up theirhong demands. they want the region's top officials to resign, saying they are not going anywhere until china grasps real democracy. jihadist militants from the islamic state group closed in on a key town on the border of syria and turkey, despite continuing airstrikes on the international coalition. flood hits some 60 cities across the south of france, including the historic